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APD Highlights Success of the Digital Intelligence Team

Four new positions to be added to the Unit

Thurs. June 30, 2022

ALBUQUERQUE – APD leaders highlighted the successes of the newly created Digital Intelligence Team that is playing a critical role in assisting detectives as they solve violent crimes.

Mayor Tim Keller recently approved four new positions to expand the team.

The DIT works out of the Family Advocacy Center directly under the Criminal Investigations Division. The team assists with investigations of homicides, shootings, robberies and other violent crimes. The DIT works to uncover motives and involved parties, as well as documenting historical records to pull locations and cell tower data.

“We have arrested or charged 65 suspects for homicides in just six months,” APD Chief Harold Medina said. “The Digital Intelligence Team has been a key addition to our investigative units. We want our detectives to have the best intelligence available to solve crimes. I appreciate the support from Mayor Keller and the City Council to expand this team.”

As criminal investigations involve more digital devices and evidence than ever before, many agencies do not have the capacity to sift through that information. With the assistance of DIT, the analysts are able to work through that evidence, taking precious time and tedious work off the hands of the detectives.

“For years digital evidence did not hold much weight in an investigation or through successful prosecution,” said Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock. “Now, historical records, cell tower data and location tracking holds up in court as much as DNA or fingerprinting.”

The arrangement of drug deals on social media apps like SnapChat and Instagram have also become much more prevalent and a large part of DIT’s investigations. As SnapChat is known to immediately shutdown an account flagged for dealing drugs, the police department is exploring the option of targeted ads on those platforms. The purpose would be to let dealers know, cops are watching and they could be communicating with an officer, to hopefully deter further criminal activity.

DIT played a critical role in solving the homicide of DeAndre Garcia that occurred in 2019. Police used new technology to unlock one of the offender’s phones tracking it to the scene of the shooting where Garcia was killed in Northwest Albuquerque.

DIT also played a key role in solving the homicide of 19 year-old Trevonte Robbins and the shooting of another young man in Downtown Albuquerque.  The Digital Intelligence Team worked closely with the detective to produce four arrest warrants rather than trying to solve the case with to tips or leads.